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The Evolution of Rap Music

             Some people feel that Rap is not music or art and neglect the fact that hip-hop has become a flourishing culture. To study American Rap Music, we must first look at the Hip-hop culture. Hip-hop's four components, Graffiti art, MCing, DJing, and break dancing, define the face of this unique urban culture. Rap is a vital part to the hip-hop culture, without hip-hop it would not have existed or evolved into what it is today. Rap goes back over twenty years and is very similar in style to the poetic Griots of West Africa. According to the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, the Griots were ancient storytellers who used poetry and rhythm to teach villagers about their history. These Griot traditions survived through the slaves that came to the new world especially since the written language was barely used. With its spread across the world to mainstream audiences, hip-hop has become a synonym for rap music however these two words do not have the same meaning. Jamaican music played a big role in the creation and evolution of American rap music, helping characterize its identity. Rap is an art form that evolved from creative urban minorities who gave birth to the hip-hop culture. .
             In Steven Haver's book, "Hip Hop; the illustrated history of Break dancing, Rap music and Graffiti," he states that there were three major events that took place in the Bronx which led to the birth of hip-hop. The first event took place in 1959 when parks commissioner Robert Moses decided to begin building an expressway through the heart of the Bronx, and as a result, the middleclass German, Italian, Irish, and Jewish neighborhoods vanished overnight. In addition to this, businesses and factories relocated, and poor black and Hispanic families replaced the exiting middle classes and businesses. Along with these poor families came crime, drug addiction and unemployment.

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